Thinking of starting an RDA group?

Shedfield RDA – The starting of a new Group

Anne-Marie and I had previously volunteered as helpers and Trustees at another RDA group, which we had hoped to expand, but after various discussions the other Trustees preferred to keep the group small, so with the encouragement of Anne Coney we agreed to try and set up our own group. There was no conflict with our previous group as we were targeting a different type of rider. We set about gaining more knowledge about groups, and volunteered at Broadlands for several months to gain experience of different types of riders Suzanne has a great range of riders at Broadlands together with dedicated and skilled volunteers, so an excellent place to see the workings of RDA.

By May of last year we decided it was about time to set the ball rolling and start our new RDA Group.. We started advertising for volunteers and completed all the necessary paperwork to become a new RDA group. We found some great volunteers and by August 2014 we became a member group. We started with no funds whatsoever, so we set about fundraising by holding tombola stalls manned by our new volunteers, at local dressage and horse shows. Our aim was to raise enough money for a large mounting block, the first bit of our essential equipment. We raised enough money to buy materials and somebody very kindly made the mounting block for us, so we were on our way.

Philippa Lester the manager at Shedfield Riding School also applied to become an RDA Accessibility Centre at the same time, and to start off RDA we have been riding under their accessibility mark whilst sorting out getting our instructors qualified and getting all the volunteer paperwork, first aid etc. completed. In December of last year we had a visit from the Mayor of Farnham, who arrived with a cheque for £3,500 to add to our very meagre funds. This money was raised by the Mayor’s Annual Charity. This was a fantastic boost. She brought along with her Cllr Sean Woodward who is a rider himself and is very interested in the work that the RDA do. He said that Councillors have money for grants and that if we would like to apply for a grant for equipment for £1,500 he would see what he could do to help us. We also received a very kind donation from one of our volunteers for £1,500 too. We received the Councillor Grant in early January. So suddenly and amazingly we have a good amount of money to get started with. We have applied to become a registered charity, which as you all know you can’t apply until £5,000 has gone through your RDA bank in a year. We never thought we would have this money so soon. This money has enabled us to buy Games, safety and video equipment. The video being very useful for those of our riders who want to compete in the RDA Dressage Competition. It has also paid for a first aid course for all of the volunteers who were able to attend.

We have found some fantastic volunteers including an Occupational Therapist and a professional fundraiser. We have got volunteers who love organising and paperwork, we couldn’t have asked for any more. So it just goes to show that even if you are a bit daunted by starting a new RDA group, sometimes the gods smile on you and help get you off to a fantastic start

To find out more about starting an RDA Group, contact Julie Dargie at RDA National Office  (jdargie@rda.org.uk 01926 405 962)

Page Last Updated: April 15, 2015